CHICAGO (CBS) – The Chicago Teachers Union has yet to reach an agreement with Chicago Public Schools, but CTU officials said they’ve opened the way to a “path” to an agreement.
The two sides have been in talks for 146 days, meeting more than 40 times with little progress.
Rank-and-file CTU members, along with elected CTU officers, gave an update Saturday afternoon after another round of early morning negotiations. CTU President Jesse Sharkey said the union proposed a structure on two components: class size and staffing.
“The CTU went today with an outline, with a structure, which we feel like modifies some of our original proposals and gives the mayor a path to get to an agreement if that’s her desire,” Sharkey said.
The union says its come up with “a pathway” offer, which involves phasing in.
The tone was markedly more optimistic Saturday than it was Friday, after the city issued what they declared to be their final contract offer; the mayor delivered swift and harsh words, claiming that the teachers were determined to “strike no matter what.”
CTU says the city’s reaction to their new proposal today was markedly different than the tone Friday.
“It was surprisingly sober on the other side of the table today,” said CTU Vice President Stacey Davis. “I think they overshot their rhetoric yesterday about saying last and final.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPS CEO Dr. Janice Jackson wrote in a statement that they were “pleased” with the progress made at the negotiating table.
“We remain committed to getting a deal done that reflects our fundamental respect for teachers — which is paramount in the counterproposal we put forward yesterday. We remain committed to doubling down on our shared efforts, coming back to the table, and getting to an agreement. That is what our teachers, students, and families deserve,” the statement said.
Sharkey said the union remains committed to the push for more nurses, social workers and other key players in schools.
He said they made modifications on some of those related proposals.
The union has set a strike date of Oct. 17, after pleading for better pay and benefits along with improved class sizes and staffing levels.
The city has been offering teachers a 16% total raise over a five-year contract.
The next negotiating session with the city is set for Monday.